How Parenting is Like Reading

At The Believer, Chris Batchelder writes:

the vivid surprises of child-rearing seem so similar to the vivid surprises of good literature.

(Link from The Morning News.)

and offers examples. Recently, I was reading The Very Busy Spider to 3yo Guppy, for what may have been the gazillionth time. As happened to Batchelder, though, my kid surprised me when I least expected I could be surprised.

In the book, a spider spins a web and a series of farm animals ask if she wants to do something else with them, e.g. Want to roll in the mud, said the pig? After I read one of those questions, Guppy said, “But spiders don’t do that.” It took me a moment to put together that not only was the spider ignoring the questions as she spun her web, but Guppy had just crystallized that what they were asking her to do weren’t things a spider could or would do, until the very end when the rooster asks if she wants to catch a pesky fly. I’d read this book hundreds of times, and Guppy’s statement revealed a whole new facet of the book to me.

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